I wanted to put together some quick tips for how to eat better this Ramadan, what types of foods to focus on and which to avoid, in order to help my fellow Muslims prepare for this month!
As a general observation, especially amongst the South Asian (Pakistani, Indian) community that I am part of, most individuals eagerly await the endless samosas and countless pakoras served at iftar. I thoroughly enjoy these foods myself, but I realize the negative impacts such fatty and oily foods can have on your body, especially during fasting season.
- Do NOT skip this meal. I know many people skip this because they do not want to get up, or if they do wake up it is only for namaz. Others say they are not hungry at this time to eat a real meal.
- Like breakfast, this is the most important meal that will keep your body going through the day until you can break your fast.
- Focus on foods rich in complex carbohydrates. Complex Carbs are necessary as they are the primary fuel for your body and brain to perform its normal functions. Without carbs, or the lack of proper amount of carbs, will result in weakness, difficulty concentrating and mood swings.
- Instead of having your oil filled parhatas for suhoor, opt for a whole wheat roti or brown basmati rice as an alternative.
- Have foods rich in fibre. Fibre make you feel fuller and will last longer in your body.
- Fat-free chicken, fish and low fat dairy products are also necessary as a great source of protein for your body. These foods will help you repair your tissue and muscles in your body.
- Best foods for your suhoor meal: foods rich in fiber (beans, oatmeal) protein (eggs, yogurt, fish, white meat) healthy fats (nuts, olives) fruits and/or veggies. Have 2 glasses of water at least, one before you begin meal and one after eating.
- This is the time you want to replenish your energy. The key during this time is to NOT OVEREAT. We have a tendency to stuff our faces but that results in bloating, tiredness, and feeling sick.
- Start off with a glass of juice, it will kick in some energy and balance your blood glucose levels which may dip low during the time of no food intake.
- AVOID fried and spicy foods. Of course these types of foods, such as your pakoras and samosas, are good once in a while but do not overindulge.
- Have a fruit, I love eating watermelon in Ramadan, it is so nice to have in summer time, plus it is another source of fluids for your body.
- Again, replenish your body. Focus on the proteins-have your meats and veggies. Incorporate fruits and fibers as well.
- Take your time eating. If you eat too fast, your body will feel fuller faster and you will not eat the proper amount of food that is necessary.
- Take a walk in the evenings after your iftar. This will incorporate your exercise as well as aid in your digestion.
These are just the beginning of some tips for healthy Ramadan meals. Just by incorporating various food groups in the right quantities in your meals, you will be able to see better results on your body and mind during this holy month.